Giving the Bengals a quarterback in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft is a thing that will eventually become popular. You just need to remember I've been doing it for a few weeks now. It's not an indictment of Andy Dalton, who has been more than Cincy could ever hope for when they took him out of TCU in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Dalton's got years left on his body and arm and he doesn't have an onerous contract right now. But the Bengals can't possibly think that pairing him with a new coach in Zac Taylor and paying him another new, big contract now that he's north of 30 is the smart move.
Not with the division in upheaval. The Steelers are battling Kardashian-level drama and will likely lose Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger isn't the youngest hen in the chicken coop (a saying that makes sense but might not be real). Baker Mayfield and the Browns are threatening to take this thing over and will be the chic pic going into next year, assuming everyone isn't on the Lamar Jackson/Ravens bandwagon.
The Bengals want to get back in this thing, which is why they hired Taylor. And when you hire a young guy like Taylor, you should let him pluck a quarterback early. Which is why they go UP TOP in this draft and take Kyler Murray out of Oklahoma. The mobile Heisman Trophy winner gives Taylor the diverse kind of skillset that can run a full McVay-style offense, with Dalton giving them an option for 2019 if they don't think Murray is ready out of the box.
The AFC North would have the last three Heisman winners and a future Hall of Fame quarterback. It would be by far the spiciest division in football. Let's get weird.
To the picks -- when you inevitably hate them, come yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson. And make sure you subscribe to the Pick Six Podcast, our DAILY NFL pod that continues to deliver the goods throughout the offseason.
1. Arizona Cardinals
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State. I'd love to get cute and have the Cardinals go in a different direction here, but no one is passing up Bosa with the top pick in the draft. Arizona can pair the younger Bosa brother with Chandler Jones and unleash a pass-rushing fury on opposing quarterbacks.
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Jets
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama. I don't know what the nickname would be for multiple Williams players on the defensive line and I'm sure the Jets would like to get some skill position guys or protection for Sam Darnold, but the speedy behemoth defensive lineman is too talented to pass up here.
4. Oakland Raiders
Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan. The Raiders need to get defensive help with their first pick if they're not sold on a quarterback and Gary can give them a physical presence on the defensive line, where they badly need to reload after trading Khalil Mack.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama. The Bucs are all in on Jameis Winston and while they still need defensive help, they could also use some protection for Winston if they don't manage to bring back Donovan Smith.
6. New York Giants
Devin White, LB, LSU. People need to stop mocking a quarterback to the Giants just because they need one. Dave Gettleman won't flinch if he has full authority here -- he'll take the best player on his board (although hopefully not a running back this time).
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State. The Jaguars look like a prime candidate to land Nick Foles in free agency or via a trade, but until that actually comes to fruition, let's give them a first-round pick with the upside to start right away.
8. Detroit Lions
Clelin Ferrell, DL, Clemson. The Lions can keep building out from the interior of their defensive line and by doing so can keep putting pressure on the developing offenses in the division. Ferrell is someone who can give them an edge-rush presence with Ziggy Ansah very much in question as to his future
9. Buffalo Bills
Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida. The Bills could go in any direction, honestly, but I'll have them take an offensive lineman with a ton of upside to protect Josh Allen.
10. Denver Broncos
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri. Ryan Wilson pointed out on the Pick Six Podcast (subscribe right here for daily NFL content in your earhole) that the buzz has John Elway in love with Lock. If that's the case he can't pass him up at 10 overall.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma. Let's get this party STARTED! Andy Dalton is over 30 now, so he's not going to magically become an All-Pro and he has zero dead money left on his contract. Drafting Murray and pairing him with Zac Taylor takes the stodgy old boring Bengals and makes them COOL and potentially an immediate threat to the AFC North.
12. Green Bay Packers
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. The Packers already have Jimmy Graham but an additional weapon for Aaron Rodgers who is also an excellent blocker could be a really nice pull here. Also: don't worry about his college stats. If you're concerned about that just look at George Kittle's production in college versus high school.
13. Miami Dolphins
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston. The Dolphins just hired a bright defensive mind in Brian Flores to oversee a full-blown rebuild and it could start with adding a high-upside guy to put on the defensive line.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU. The Falcons just cut Robert Alford and will need to try and reload at the cornerback position. They've shown a willingness to work with SEC players as well.
15. Washington Redskins
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke. The Redskins are going to have to take a quarterback in the first round of this draft unless they can figure out something in free agency. Jones just feels like someone who fits the mold of what Jay Gruden is looking for, even if I feel kind of bad for him considering the landing spot.
16. Carolina Panthers
Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State. This is going to be the pick I put my stamp on. Does anyone else have Bradbury in the first round yet? He's going to go early -- he might not make it to the Panthers at the rate his stock is rising. They're losing Ryan Kalil and Bradbury is a local, plug and play prospect for Carolina.
17. Cleveland Browns
Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma. The Browns have a really good roster right now but could use some more depth when it comes to their offensive line as they continue to look for someone to fill Joe Thomas' spot at left tackle for the long haul (good luck with that).
18. Minnesota Vikings
Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson. This is the furthest I've had Lawrence falling so far and it's not a stock up/stock down situation, it's just more about having a fluid list of guys in a very fluid draft. It's more fun to give the Vikings a corner and watch Vikings fans freak out but I think Lawrence could make some sense here with Sheldon Richardson a free agent.
19. Tennessee Titans
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington. This might not be a position of need per se, but the Titans need to think about life after Malcolm Butler (or life during Malcolm Butler) and adding another stud corner is not a horrible idea. Lots of different directions they could go here.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State. Don't think he falls this far, but think Pittsburgh would be willing to grab him if he did, considering the struggles they've had on the defensive side of the ball in recent years. Please don't @ me with a list of Steelers defensive line starters, because they are potentially losing a lot of depth in free agency.
21. Seattle Seahawks
Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware. Trying to figure out what the Seahawks will do in the first round -- outside of trading down -- is literally the most difficult thing involved with mock drafting. John Schneider and Pete Carroll are NOT afraid to zig. They haven't always looked for DBs in the first round but I could see them liking Adderley, whose stock continues to rise.
22. Baltimore Ravens
Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma. No clue what to expect out of the Ravens in the first round with their transition in the front office, but I think adding a deep threat for Lamar Jackson would be one of the top priorities. People get hot and bothered about his accuracy, but he improved down the stretch and he can let it RIP when he throws deep.
23. Houston Texans
Greg Little, OL, Ole Miss. It would be borderline negligent to go in a different direction than offensive line for the Texans after seeing all the hits that Deshaun Watson took last year behind that offensive line.
24. Oakland Raiders (via Chicago)
Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State. Trading away Amari Cooper and losing Martavis Bryant and leaning on Jordy Nelson is not sustainable to help Derek Carr. The Raiders need to get him a weapon and Harmon would be a great fit in Jon Gruden's offense; he's the type of receiver who can move the chains and also body up dudes down the field.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Devin Bush, LB, Michigan. The Eagles are going to have an interesting offseason, with a lot of players no longer under contract. If they land Leonard Fournette via trade they can focus on adding a defensive player.
26. Indianapolis Colts
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson. The Colts want to keep getting more physical on the defensive side of the ball and putting Wilkins on the defensive line would certainly help that case.
27. Oakland Raiders (via Dallas)
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa. The Raiders walking out of the draft with a top tier defensive lineman, a top tier wideout and a top tier tight end? That would be a pretty incredible haul for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. They'd land high on the grades list and on most "winners" list for the draft (having three first-round picks makes that easy but whatever).
28. Los Angeles Chargers
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama. The Chargers played a lot of defensive backs on the field and it got tons of hype until the Patriots destroyed it. They did so because it worked but also because of necessity. They could use depth and talent at the linebacker position to slow down the run.
29. Kansas City Chiefs
DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia. The Chiefs clearly need some upgrades on defense and it would make sense to add a talented, high-level cornerback in the draft.
30. Green Bay Packers (via New Orleans)
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State. Do Packers fans want more pressure off the edge? They should because the team needs help there. (I don't know what Packers fans want, actually, I just know they're extremely passionate and on Twitter they are entirely convinced you are a moron who took the wrong person for their team.)
31. Los Angeles Rams
Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College. The Rams could easily end up trading this for a veteran instead, because that's what they do. But it wouldn't be surprising to see them grab a pass-rusher given the likely departures of Dante Fowler and Ndamukong Suh.
32. New England Patriots
Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina. Tom Brady is going to need some weapons and Bill Belichick might view Samuel as a guy who can impact the return game (Cordarrelle Patterson is a free agent) as well, while stepping in to help Josh McDaniels' offense.